No. 2 Stanford Seeks Revenge In Matchup With No. 7 Cal Friday
Nov. 10, 2008
UP NEXT: Stanford heads across the Bay on Friday, looking for some payback against the No. 7 California Golden Bears. The rival handed the second-ranked Cardinal its only conference loss on Oct. 19 at Maples Pavilion, and this week, Stanford is intent on regaining its Bay Area bragging rights. The Pac-10's first and second-place teams are slated to square off at 7 p.m. Friday night at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley. The match will be televised live by Comcast SportsNet West.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Cardinal will play its final regular-season home matches next week, taking on No. 10 USC and No. 9 UCLA on Nov. 21 and 22, respectively. Saturday's showdown with UCLA will be the final regular-season match in Maples Pavilion for Stanford seniors Foluke Akinradewo, Cynthia Barboza, Jessica Fishburn, Alex Fisher and Erin Waller.
LOOKING BACK: Stanford is coming off another solid conference weekend, sweeping both Arizona State and Arizona for the second time this year. Senior Foluke Akinradewo was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for her efforts in the desert, hitting .634 with 4.67 kps.
CATCH THE CARDINAL: Friday's match will be televised live by Comcast SportsNet West. Fans can also catch the match live on KZSU radio (90.1 FM or online at http://kzsu.stanford.edu/). Live stats will also be available on Gametracker.
AKINRADEWO ON FIRE: Defending AVCA National Player of the Year Foluke Akinradewo was key for the Cardinal last week in Arizona, hitting a combined .634 with 4.67 kps and 5.42 pps to earn her second Pac-10 Player of the Week honor of the year. On the first leg of the road trip, Akinradewo had 12 kills on 18 swings (.611) to help the Cardinal top Arizona State. On the second leg of the trip, she dominated at the net against Arizona, ripping a team-high 16 kills on just 23 swings (.652). For the second straight night, she also added four blocks, finishing the weekend with 1.33 bps. The award is the fifth career honor for Akinradewo, the most of any active player in the Pac-10.
BARBOZA HITS 1,500: Senior Cynthia Barboza joined an elite group of Stanford players Saturday night, pounding her 1,500th career kill. She is the tenth player in school history to accomplish the feat, the 37th in conference history and joins teammate Foluke Akinradewo as the only two active players in the Pac-10 with 1,500 to their names. Akinradewo picked up her 1,500th on Oct. 31.
THE AVENGERS: Stanford will be looking to avenge its only Pac-10 loss this week, a four-set falter on Oct. 19 at the hands of the Bears. Recently, Stanford has been good at that though. The last two seasons, Stanford lost a combined four conference matches, and avenged each of those losses in the very next meeting. Since John Dunning took the helm in 2001, Stanford has dropped both conference meetings with a team only three times (USC in `03 and Washington and Arizona in `05).
LEADER OF THE PAC: With Cal's loss at Arizona last Friday, Stanford (12-1) snagged a two-match lead in the race for the 2008 Pac-10 title. With sole possession of first place, the Cardinal is the only team in the conference that continues to control its own fate and must win three of its final five matches to secure at least a share of the crown. California and Washington, both 10-3, are on the Cardinal's heels, but no team has ever won the conference title with more than two losses. Oregon (8-4) and USC (7-6) are both still mathematically in the hunt as well. Eight Pac-10 teams are currently over .500 and every conference team but Washington State is still battling for an NCAA berth. Every Pac-10 team that has finished over .500 since 1996 has made the NCAA Tournament.
SWINGING FOR THE RECORD: Entering her senior season, Foluke Akinradewo has already rewritten the hitting percentage column in the NCAA, Pac-10 and Stanford record books. Last year, she posted the second highest hitting percentage in NCAA history (.499) and shattered both the Pac-10 and Stanford single-season records by more than 50 points. Now in the final stretch of her last collegiate season, Akinradewo is hitting .446 and on pace to finish with the best career hitting percentage ever recorded by an NCAA Division I player. The previous record (.423) was posted by Virag Domokos of George Mason in 1996.
DOUBLE-FIGURE FIGURES: Senior Cynthia Barboza has been on a hot streak recently, posting double-figure kills in 13 of the last 14 matches, including the last seven in a row. Fellow senior Foluke Akinradewo has also stepped up her production over the last few weeks. After hitting double digits just four times in the first 16 matches, she has had at least 10 kills in seven of the last eight.
MILESTONES AT THE NET: Senior Foluke Akinradewo is having the best blocking year of her career (1.46 bps) and currently stands third on the Cardinal career list (521). The senior leads the Pac-10 in blocking and is among the top 10 nationally in the category. The conference's active career block leader as well, she recorded one of the best single-match blocking performances in school history against Arizona State (12) on Oct. 12.
UP THE CHARTS: Foluke Akinradewo is steadily making her way up the Stanford career kill chart, and now stands in ninth place with 1,544. Currently the conference's active career kill leader, she needs 10 this weekend to pass three-time Olympian Kerri Walsh.
ON THE BOARD: Cynthia Barboza jumped onto two exclusive career lists against Washington Oct. 31, joining the school's all-time career kill and dig leaders on the same night. Already one of the ten most dangerous servers in Stanford history with 107 career aces, Barboza is one of only four players (others are Kristin Richards `07, Kristin Klein `92 and Logan Tom `03) with a spot on all three of those career lists.
IN THE CLUB: Senior Cynthia Barboza joined an elite group of Pac-10 players last month, reaching 1,000 career digs against Washington State on Oct. 3. The senior posted the 1,000th kill of her career against Washington in October 2007, and is now just the seventh Stanford player since 1986 to record both 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs. Kristin Richards `07, Kristin Klein `92, Cary Wendell `96, Kerri Walsh `00, Logan Tom `03 and Bev Oden `93 are the other Cardinal players who have accomplished the feat.
CLEAN SWEEP: Stanford, which swept 21 opponents last year, is well on its way to matching that impressive feat. With five regular-season matches to play, the Cardinal has swept 17 opponents, including 14 of its last 18. The team opened the conference season with six consecutive sweeps for the first time in school history this year.
HITTING THE MARK: Two of the Pac-10's top five leaders in hitting percentage, including leader Foluke Akinradewo, hail from The Farm. Akinradewo paces the conference and is third in the nation with a .468 clip, while fellow middle blocker Janet Okogbaa is fifth in the conference at .381. As a team, Stanford leads the Pac-10 with a .319 clip, stands third nationally and is one of only four programs hitting above .300 for the year (Cal, Penn State and Texas are the others). The Cardinal's 2008 hitting percentage is currently the best in school history, just above the record of .316 the team set last year.
OPPONENT WOES: Opponents have had a difficult time getting much going offensively against Stanford, a fact shown not only by the Cardinal's 21-3 record, but by the list of opponents' hitting percentages. Of Stanford's 24 opponents, 15 have hit below .200, with seven not even able to hit .100. Only three teams have hit more than .250 against the Cardinal this year (Saint Louis, Cal and UCLA), and no one has been able to reach .300. By contrast, Stanford has hit above .300 17 times, above .400 four times and only three teams have held the squad below .250 (Nebraska, Cal and USC). Since falling to Saint Louis on Sept. 6, Stanford has hit over .300 in 14 of its 18 matches, and held 13 opponents below .200 hitting.
GOOD STUFF ON AND OFF THE COURT: Senior Cynthia Barboza was one of three Pac-10 players selected as a member of the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District First Team last week. The two-time AVCA All-American is a political science major at Stanford. Last season, she was also a first-team all-district pick and went on to become Stanford's first Academic All-American since Ogonna Nnamani was honored in 2004. She was one of two Academic All-Americans from the Pac-10 last year and the only Pac-10 player to be both an Academic All-American and an AVCA All-American. She is now in contention to join two-time honoree Kristin Folkl and three-time honoree Nnamani as the only Cardinal players to earn multiple Academic All-America awards.
CATCH A GLIMPSE: Fans have many great chances to catch the Cardinal live this season. Stanford will appear on live TV seven times during the regular season, with the final appearance coming against Cal on Comcast SportsNet West this week. Stanford ranks 12th nationally in home attendance in 2008, draws the most fans in the Pac-10 and has helped set facility attendance records at three of its non-conference road matches.
DIGGING DEEP: Stanford libero Gabi Ailes recorded double-digit digs in both matches last weekend, and has now hit the 10-dig plateau in five of the last six contests. The Bellevue, Neb. native set a new school single-season dig record last year (533), and was also the first player in school history to turn in more than four digs per game (4.26). This year, even with the new scoring format, Ailes is turning in impressive dig numbers. The sophomore is averaging 3.95 dps, and is carrying a career average (4.14) better than any player in program history.
CATCHING ON QUICKLY: Sophomore Cassidy Lichtman has wasted no time transitioning into her new setter/hitter role. Lichtman was named to the all-tournament team at two of Stanford's preseason tournaments, including the prestigious AVCA Showcase at the start of the year. She has recorded seven double-doubles and set new personal bests in every statistical category. She averaged 12.00 aps over the two matches in Arizona last week.
QUEEN OF THE COURT: Stanford's Foluke Akinradewo begins her senior season as the reigning AVCA National Player of the Year. Akinradewo tallied 4.11 kpg last season, while leading the nation with a .499 hitting percentage. She is the eighth AVCA National Player of the Year from Stanford, and the fourth that Head Coach John Dunning has produced since coming to The Farm seven seasons ago.
ALL-AMERICAN FIREPOWER: Stanford returns an arsenal of All-American hitters for 2008 - Foluke Akinradewo, Cynthia Barboza and Alix Klineman. Together, the trio boasts six career All-America honors, including four first-team selections, along with a National Player of the Year award and a National Freshman of the Year award. The threesome brings back a combined 12.22 kills per game while hitting at a clip well above .300. All told, the trio's accomplishments amount to more returning firepower than the Cardinal program has ever seen.
OFFSEASON OF CHAMPIONS: Stanford's three returning All-Americans all spent the offseason training with the U.S. Women's National Team in Colorado Springs. Cynthia Barboza and Foluke Akinradewo competed in the FIVB World Grand Prix and were both alternates for the 2008 Olympic Team. Akinradewo and Barboza were the only two players with collegiate eligibiliy remaining named to the 19-player Olympic preliminary roster. Alix Klineman, the youngest player in Colorado Springs at just age 18, trained with the team from January to June, toured China with the squad in March and, along with Barboza, competed in the Pan Am Cup in June.
VETERANS ALL AROUND: The Cardinal boasts 11 players who have been to a national championship match, including seven who have taken the team to the coveted match twice. Six members of the starting rotation return from last year, including all four primary passers. Between the 11 veterans, the 2008 Cardinal boasts 12 prior years in the starting lineup and more than 4,500 kills. Before 2008 even started, the veterans had already contributed to 88 Cardinal wins, two conference titles and a pair of Final Four appearances. Ten members of the Stanford roster have postseason court experience.
NATIONAL POLL: Stanford remains at No. 2 this week in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll, the same slot it held in the preseason rankings. Defending national champion Penn State continues to hold the top spot in the poll, having been No. 1 since the start of the year. Six Pac-10 squads are in the top-10.
PICKED TO THREE-PEAT: The Stanford women's volleyball team was unanimously chosen by the league's coaches to win the Pac-10 volleyball title for the third consecutive season. Stanford claimed the maximum 90 points in the preseason poll, 15 more than second-place UCLA, including the first-place votes of each of the league's nine opponent head coaches. Once again, the Pac-10 sent three teams to the Final Four in 2007 (Stanford, USC and California). It marked the third time in four seasons that the Pac-10 made up three-fourths of the Final Four field. The conference has taken home five of the last seven NCAA titles. The coaches have correctly picked the Pac-10 champion in 12 of the previous 19 polls.
2007 IN REVIEW: In 2007, Stanford posted a 32-3 record and won an unprecedented 11th Pac-10 title. The team finished the year with a postseason run to its 13th NCAA title match, where it fell to Penn State in a five-game thriller. On the year, Stanford bested 18 ranked opponents, outhit 33 of the 35 teams it faced and won 21 matches by 3-0 margins. Four players - Foluke Akinradewo, Alix Klineman, Bryn Kehoe and Cynthia Barboza - were named All-Americans, matching the highest total in program history, and, for the eighth time, Stanford produced the AVCA National Player of the Year.
TAKING ON THE BEST: Once again, Head Coach John Dunning has lined up one of the most challenging schedules in the nation for the Cardinal. Fifteen of Stanford's regular-season matches are against teams that are currently in the top-25, and 15 are against teams that made the 2007 NCAA Tournament. Six teams in the top-10 hail from the Pac-10 Conference. Stanford has already played seven of its fellow nine top-10 teams, and leads the nation with six wins over current top-10 teams (Washington also has six).
SCOUTING CALIFORNIA: Coming off their first Final Four appearance in school history and a fourth-place Pac-10 finish, the Golden Bears carried the momentum from their landmark season into the start of 2008. Cal started 18-1 this year, and topped the then-No. 4 Cardinal at Maples for the first time in nearly three decades. Since that notable win, however, the Bears have lost three of their last five and dropped into a tie for second place in the conference. Cal continues to lead the Pac-10 with 15.15 kps, a mark which ranks second nationally, and joins Stanford as one of four programs in the nation hitting over .300. Junior outside hitter Hana Cutura leads the Pac-10 with 4.41 kps (13th nationally) and 5.10 pps. Cutura is also one of the top two servers in the conference with 31 aces. Sophomore setter Carli Lloyd leads the Pac-10 and ranks second nationally with 12.18 aps.
THE SERIES WITH THE GOLDEN BEARS: Stanford has dominated the series with Cal, going 59-6 (.908) all-time against the rival Golden Bears. The Cardinal has come out on top in seven of the last eight meetings, but Cal got its first win since 2004 in the most recent one on Oct. 19, 23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 27-25.
STANFORD PROBABLE STARTERS
MB - #16 Foluke Akinradewo
Notables: Defending AVCA National Player of the Year ... a three-time All-American ... a four-year starter ... an alternate for the 2008 Olympic team ... Sept. 8 Pac-10 Player of the Week after hitting .687 over four matches ... hit a career-high .923 vs. No. 19 Illinois (9/6) ... on pace to break the NCAA career hitting percentage record (.446) ... ranked third nationally in hitting percentage, and also stands among the nation's top 10 in blocks per set ... leads the Pac-10 in both hitting percentage and blocks ... one of Stanford's ten all-time kill and block leaders, reaching her 1,500th kill two weeks ago ... posted the ninth best blocking performance in school history (12) and her second career double-double against Arizona State (10/12) ... defending Pac-10 Player of the Week after hitting .634 and posting 4.67 kps in Arizona.
MB - #2 Janet Okogbaa
Notables: In her first season in the starting lineup ... was the No. 2 recruit nationally back in 2006 ... currently ranked fifth in the Pac-10 in hitting percentage (.381) ... matched a career-high with six blocks against Arizona State last week ... also matched a career high with a .583 hitting percentage against Arizona last week (8-1-12) ... pounded a career-high 12 kills to lead the team to victory over USC (10/24), marking her first career performance in double figures.
OH - #1 Cynthia Barboza
Notables: A two-time first-team All-American ... an alternate for both the 2004 and 2008 Olympic teams ... a four-year starter ... among the school's top-10 career leaders in service aces, kills and digs ... has reached double figures in 13 of the last 14 matches (and seven in a row) ... ranked among the Pac-10's top 10 in kills and points ... the seventh Stanford player since 1986 to record both 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs, nabbing her 1,000th dig on Oct. 3 at Washington State ... leads the team with 10 double-doubles ... posted 20 kills and 22 digs against UCLA (10/26), marking a career high for digs and the first time in her career she has broken 20 in both categories in the same match ... 10/27 Pac-10 Player of the Week for her efforts in Los Angeles ... recorded her 1,500th career kill in Arizona last weekend, the 37th Pac-10 player to accomplish the feat.
OH - #10 Alix Klineman
Notables: The Volleyball Magazine National Freshman of the Year last season ... a 2007 second-team All-American after leading the team offensively with 4.12 kpg ... led the team with 21 kills in the victory over Texas (8/31) ... the MVP of the Stanford Invitational after posting 4.44 kps and a .481 hitting percentage ... also named Pac-10 Player of the Week for the effort (9/15) ... hit a career-high .615 (16-0-26) against Santa Clara (9/13) ... matched her season high with 21 kills against Cal (10/19) and posted her third double-double ... ranked among the Pac-10's top 10 in kills and points.
S - #3 Joanna Evans
Notables: Has been setting from the back row for Stanford this season, her first in the starting lineup ... had a season-high 28 assists in the win over Texas at the AVCA Showcase ... posted the first double-double of her career with 21 assists and 10 digs against USC (10/24).
OPP - #12 Erin Waller
Notables: Stanford's opposite hitter enters her third season as a starter ... has a history of stepping up in big matches, with the two best performances of her career coming in the 2006 national championship match (18 kills) and the 2007 regional final (19 kills) ... has hit double figures twice this year, against Texas (8/31) and UCLA (10/26).
L - #9 Gabi Ailes
Notables: Broke Stanford's single-season (533) and single-match (31) dig records as a freshman last season and earned Pac-10 All-Freshman Honorable Mention ... had seven 20+ dig performances last year ... has reached the 20-dig plateau twice this year, against Texas (22) and Saint Louis (24) ... posted 17 digs in the team's two matches in Los Angeles ... recorded 19 digs against Washington State earlier this month, a career high for a three-set match ... has hit double figures in five of the last six matches and 17 times overall.
S/OH - #8 Cassidy Lichtman
Notables: Has transitioned into a new setter/hitter role this year after primarily being a DS last season ... already has seven double-doubles this year ... was named to the all-tournament team at two of Stanford's preseason tournaments, including the prestigious AVCA Showcase ... recorded a career high 10 kills and hit a career high .533 against Texas (8/31), coming within one dig of a triple-double in the match ... posted career highs with 53 assists (10/26) and 15 digs (10/24) on the road trip to Los Angeles.